Can we talk about bodies for a second??
Pregnancy is filled with ch ch ch changes. Changes in your body, your relationships, your thoughts, your sleep. your eating....literally EVERYTHING.
We've talked about "How Much Weight Should You Gain in Pregnancy" and how there are endless triggers, keeping up with what our culture sets as "beauty standards" and relationships we have with our bodies and eating.
This is more of a PSA blog post as I encountered something recently that really sent me into my own spiral.
I have been working through my eating disorder since college. Most of the time I am okay and have that awful dysmorphia in the past. But sometimes it comes barreling through like a dump truck just dumping that heavy sh*t back on my shoulders and I have to go back and use all the tools I've learned in therapy to not be buried by the weight.
We have a tendency in our society to do "body talk". Saying things like "Oh my gosh you lost weight, you look great!" or "You look so skinny in those jeans" or "I love that coat". We comment on what we are seeing first. For someone who went to the the Fashion Institute and LOVES putting together outfits, patterns and textiles, I understand the love and importance for self expression and what you put on your body as a reflection of you. I also know that commenting on someone's appearance can be heavy weighted and have a not so great rippling effect. What if they didn't lose that weight, or have that coat, or wore different jeans that day. Would you still comment and say how good they look? Is it implying that they didn't look good before those things?
I first learned this kind of awareness when I was teaching at a preschool....PRESCHOOL! What a beautiful and progressive program I was working for where the head of the program wanted us teachers to be aware of body talk and not comment on their outward appearance first. Notice their expression and how they are feeling. "Wow! You are so excited to show me your dress. Tell me more!" Focusing on how they feel in this brand new rainbow sparkly dress that their grandma gave them and how they feel like Elsa from Frozen. It opens the door into such a deeper conversation!
I've been trying to be more and more conscious of this in my "adult" talk. It is HARD and feels awkward at times because we all want to be noticed and accepted so when someone doesn't comment on how you look, you may think "did they even notice?!". My father in law is working really hard to lose weight. And when I saw him this past weekend I wanted him to know that we acknowledge and see his accomplishment since he was so proud of losing close to 20lbs! I didn't do a great job of not doing "body talk" and in hindsight could have focused more on how he was feeling rather than his physical appearance, but I bring that up to show there are exceptions to every "rule", right? What if they are working really hard and you know they are working really hard to lose the weight. Can we comment then? I don't know, should we ever comment on someone's body?
Which leads me to the reason why I wanted to write this PSA, long winded, word vomit of a blog post...
NEVER COMMENT ON A PREGNANT PERSON'S BODY.
NEVER COMMENT ON A PREGNANT PERSON'S BODY!!!
Pregnancy is not easy. Lots of changes and lots of feelings. And you never know someone's relationship with body image.
I had someone recently comment on how big I was...... that it looked like "I was measuring big"
Someone who is not a Midwife or an OB who should be the ONLY people who can talk to you about your weight or measurements.
After that comment I saw myself sink back into my eating disorder thinking and second guess everything I put into my mouth afterwards. I had to do a lot of "tapping", self talk, reframing etc. Perhaps this person meant nothing by it and it felt really mundane and casual to them. I don't know, but what I DO know is the work I had to do afterwards. Work that is hard and dark and not something I want to be doing at 8 months pregnant.
So please, remind yourself and your loved ones. Do not comment on someone's pregnant body. You never know what they had to go through to get where they are. If anything ask "How are you feeling?"